How a Vampire Got Her Punk Rock Groove Back: Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen

Louise Chao has been a vampire for a few decades now. She’s not super strong, she can’t fly, she can’t change into bats or smoke or move particularly fast; she isn’t interested in violence or feeding off people—in fact she isn’t interested in much, other than the music of her youth. She lives with her pet corgi in a house she inherited from her aunt and works as a janitor doing night shifts at a hospital just to make ends meet, stealing enough blood bags to eke out basic survival. It’s a pretty depressing existence, as a few characters remind us.

Louise is passionate about music, though, and used to play for a band. Something happened that pushed her away from live performances, and she hasn’t been able to get back her mojo, as it were.

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New DC Studios Heads James Gunn and Peter Safran Reveal Their First Ten Projects

You can take a break from speculating about the future of DC Studios—at least for a little while. Today, new DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran announced the first lineup of projects they’ve got cooking, and it’s… a really mixed bag. Some big names (what they call “diamond characters”), some lesser-known folks from DC’s deep backlist, and some ideas that may leave you scratching your head.

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Weird Cosmologies and Unsubtle Monsters: The Shared Terrors of H.P. Lovecraft and Christopher Pike

Welcome to Close Reads! In this series, Leah Schnelbach and guest authors dig into the tiny, weird moments of pop culture—from books to theme songs to viral internet hits—that have burrowed into our minds. This time out, Sarah McCarry teases out similarities in the mythmaking of noted racism enthusiast H.P. Lovecraft, and noted purveyor of ’90s teen chillers, Christopher Pike.

You probably haven’t spent a lot of time considering the striking similarities between HP Lovecraft’s classic 1931 Antarctic travel warning At the Mountains of Madness and Christopher Pike’s extraordinary 1992 Martian-mission-from-hell bonanza The Season of Passage, if for no other reason than the fact that you probably haven’t read The Season of Passage. In thinking about this essay, I did consider the possibility that the Venn overlap between “people who are enthusiastic about At the Mountains of Madness” and “people who cannot shut up about The Season of Passage” consists entirely of, well, me. And yet! dear and patient reader, I ask you to join me, on a journey that will carry us from the frigid, lizard-vampire riddled plains of Mars to the frigid, lizard-ish-vampire-ish-infested mountains of Antarctica, from wet monsters to dry monsters to comely young ladies frolicking about spaceships in their undershorts; in short, a very specific window into the more dubious corners of the American psyche.

Are you ready? Let’s go.

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Series: Close Reads

Why Do People Still Balk at Animation and How Can We Change Their Minds?

“Hey, I have a show you’d love,” I say, and I see my friend’s eyes light up at the prospect of some juicy new content. “It’s an animated series…”

You probably know what happens after those four words. The friend’s eyes lose their glow, and they possibly start glancing around the room for something else to glom onto. Perhaps they say they don’t want to watch a cartoon. They “aren’t into animation.” No matter what you throw at the wall, it won’t stick.

Perhaps you’re lucky, reader, and have a social circle firmly entrenched in the wonderful world of animation. I’ve got a fair few friends who enjoy the occasional animated adventure and a few who happily watch thousand-episode anime series for breakfast. But many of my comrades range from being extremely wary to outright against animation.

[Time to conduct an informal survey!]

FX Cancels Kindred After Just One Season

Kindred, based on the novel by Octavia Butler, is done at FX. The network released the entire season in the middle of December—a strange strategy to say the least—and has now pulled the plug on the adaptation.

But there is a tiny ray of hope for fans of the series: According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Showrunner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen) is expected to shop the drama from FX Productions as he envisioned a multiple-season run for the series.”

So there’s a chance another network or streaming platform might pick it up.

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Reading The Wheel of Time: New Old Faces in Robert Jordan’s A Crown of Swords (Part 12)

This week in Reading The Wheel of Time, Cadsuane interrogates Merana, Min and Rand share news of death and comfort each other, and Sevanna plays with fire. Weaves of fire, which she can’t even see.

Hmm. I think that metaphor got away from me.

Kind of how the situation is getting away from Sevanna. Also, I think Ishamael might be back.

It’s Chapters 19 and 20 of A Crown of Swords!

[Small increases in chaos are as important as large.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Five YA SFF Books Featuring Crews You’ll Want to Join

I prefer my fiction with a healthy dose of adventure, and a crew of memorable characters along for the ride. Whether by land, sea, or hurtling through the stars, give me a group of flawed humans, bickering, flirting, fighting and scheming their way to a worthy end, and I’ll happily climb aboard.

It was my love of such stories that drove the character creation in my YA fantasy, Winter, White and Wicked, and its sequel Rebel, Brave and Brutal. I wanted to truck fantastical ice roads with a group of brilliant misfits, so I wrote a story that made it possible.

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Series: Five Books About…

Magic, Monsters, and Mayhem: Revealing Richard Kadrey & Cassandra Khaw’s The Dead Take the A Train

Julie is desperate for a quick career boost to break the dead-end grind, but her pleas draw the attention of an eldritch god…

We’re thrilled to share the cover and preview an excerpt from The Dead Take the A Train, a dark story cowritten by Richard Kadrey & Cassandra Khaw—forthcoming on October 3, 2023 from Nightfire Books.

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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Extinction”

Written by André Bormanis
Directed by LeVar Burton
Season 3, Episode 3
Production episode 055
Original air date: September 24, 2003
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. We open on a planet where one set of aliens (each wearing some manner of EVA/Hazmat suit) tracks down another set of aliens and burns them to death with flamethrowers.

Tucker shows up for his latest Vulcan neuropressure session—which as presented is indistinguishable from a massage. He also gives T’Pol a couple of freshly picked peaches that he got on Earth and had Chef keep in stasis, by way of thanks. She bites into it and agrees that it doesn’t suck.

[The laws of biochemistry on this world may be just as unpredictable as the laws of physics.]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Read an Excerpt From Fonda Lee’s Untethered Sky

Ester’s family was torn apart when a manticore killed her mother and baby brother, leaving her with nothing but her father’s painful silence and a single, overwhelming need to kill the monsters that took her family.

We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee, an epic fantasy fable about the pursuit of obsession at all costs—available April 11 from Tordotcom Publishing.

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John Scalzi and R.F. Kuang Are 2023 Alex Awards Winners!

This morning, the winners of the American Library Association’s annual awards were announced, including the Alex Awards, which recognize the ten best adult books that appeal to teen readers. There are often a few SFF gems on the list, and this year is no exception; the winners include John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society; R.F. Kuang’s Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution; and Sue Lynn Tan’s Daughter of the Moon Goddess!

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From Comedy to Horror: The Transformations of Teen Wolf

This was going to be a nice little essay about the 1985 film starring Michael J. Fox. One more ’80s werewolf adventure. A sweet and silly antidote to the frat-boy excesses of An American Werewolf in London. A little bit of teen angst à la The Company of Wolves, but much lighter.

Somehow I had missed the evolution of the franchise, from the forgettable 1987 sequel Teen Wolf Too to an MTV series likewise titled Teen Wolf. The show was a hit: it ran six seasons, from 2011 to 2017. Now—literally now, as in this past week—Paramount Plus has resurrected it, complete with the series’ cast: Teen Wolf: The Movie.

As long as I was watching the original, I thought I’d take a look at the pilot for the TV show, to see how Jeff Davis’ adaptation compared to the Rod Daniel (written by Jeph Loeb and Michael Weisman) version. By the time I came up for air, I’d watched the first dozen episodes of Season 1. Damn, that thing is addictive.

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